debts

Food vs. Debt.

The moment you believe you have everything all figured out is the moment you realize you don’t. For the most part I have my debt under control. However, Debt is always that dark cloud that looms over me. Debt is a funny word with horrible consequences. Who would have ever thought that a word so innocent looking could hurt so much. Its like a bad relationship you can’t escape from. No matter where  you turn, your Debt is right behind you. Taunting you, ridiculing you, and overall just proving to you that you can never get over them.

DEBT in all it’s magnificent, no mercy glory.

I personally hate being in debt. Well lets be really honest, who honestly likes being in debt? Any which way I can pinch a few pennies to reclaim my balance in my life, I just about do. While I have drastically cut out a lot of unnecessary spending, I keep finding myself missing a few hundred dollars. Where exactly does my money go to? I have stopped excess shopping. I have stopped purchasing countless clothes, accessories, shoes, and beauty supplies. I have even stopped purchasing books, notebooks, and supplies. Where else could my money be going? Every dollar is accounted for. I have budgeted all of my expenses and narrowed them down to all the necessities. But what on Earth can be taking a few hundred dollars. While I do put some money into savings, where does the rest of my money go? Thats when it really donned on me.

Food.

I have had problems with food for as long as I can remember and I am no stranger to talking about it on this blog. However, while I have my food problems under control, I cannot manage to control my stress eating. A majority of my recent weight gain is all due primary because of stress. When I have anxiety or if my depression hits an all time low, I eat. Somewhere in my crazy mind, eating relaxes me. I love to eat just as much as the next person. On top of that, it has taken me a long time to be okay with eating. The truth of the matter is, I don’t just eat, I binge. If I am having a crappy day, I’ll go to the grocery store and buy countless things, primarily junk food. Most days I can calm the nerves but once my anxiety hits it’s back to the bottom. It doesn’t stop there, it’s the eating out, its the drinking, its the fancy coffee here and there. It’s not just once a week. Most times its 5 times in one week. Then the next week comes and it starts all over again. While my savings shows me that I am saving money, my bank account shows that I cannot control my spending urges when food is involved.

Depending on season, time of day, and even weather, on average I spend about 100 dollars a week on food. This including the sit down meals, fast food, trips to the grocery store for snacks, coffee from coffee shops, etc. This doesn’t including the tips and gas. On average 100 dollars a week is why I cannot have nice things. I am losing money all for the sake of a good time and my sanity. Instead of finding creative ways to curb my anxiety, I turn to the one thing that always comforts me, food. Food to me is this huge comfy security blanket that I count for everything. If I am having a bad day, it makes it all go away. It makes the feelings of self doubt disappear into the feeling of no self control. I can’t control the urges. As much as I think I have everything under control, I find myself like clockwork holding on to the things I shouldn’t have. It’s easy to say that I can stop at any time. That I can easy calm my nerves and find ways to use all this crazy energy for other things. Just when I am at my weakest moments, I can’t seem to bring myself to do it. While I applaud myself for my efforts in saving money, its the little vices I can’t help but do. A $100 dollars a week does eventually add up. It shows that while I have stopped purchasing things I don’t need, I still can’t stop the urge to shop for something.

In a way I have transferred my need for things into my need for food. Just as clothes and accessories were excuses for temporary happiness, now food has become that way. Everything is a work in progress and while I am happy that my love for food has returned, I still can’t help but use food as another crutch. I am not saving money if I am still buying unnecessary things. I am not being healthy if I continue to use food as my stress reliever. Lately I have found myself avoiding grocery stores when I am feeling down. I have to second guess my need to get fast food, and limited my coffee drinks to at least once a week. While I still have my urges to buy snacks, its not as drastic as it was months prior. While I still have problems dealing with anxiety and depression, I have to find creative ways to get this energy out. At least I know where my money is going.

Food 0
Debt $400

UGH.

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It’s all about the price tag.

th

There is no word more frightening to person dealing with debt then the word “SALE”.  While “sale” to the average person means saving a buck or two, to a person with debt it means throwing money away on unnecessary items. I would know, I have fallen victim to the sale trap on multiple occasions. Actually to be completely honest, I have once again fallen victim to the trap! How can anyone say no to 50% off? How can anyone say no to promo codes and coupons? I know very well, I don’t need the items, but I want them.

There we go.

I don’t “need” the items but I “want” them. Are we seeing a pattern here?

The problem with sales isn’t in the saving of money, its in this uncontrollable urge to have everything. There is no knowledge of self control when a sale is involved. Think I am lying? When was the last time you walked into a store that was having a sale and didn’t see people walk out with shopping bags full of items? Yup, NO SELF CONTROL. I obviously do not believe in self control. I don’t. If I see an item that is regularly priced for X amount of money, I don’t purchase it (SEE! I am getting better!). However, if I see the same item 50% off, I purchase it. I mean at half the price, they’re practically giving it away right?

Wrong.

For every 50% off, I end up paying more then my fair share. While the illusion is to save money on multiple items, the reality is I am spending money on everything. I do know my limits in regards to items I could purchase. However, if I am seeing that I am saving money, I will spend the money. Which defeats the purpose of saving money. I want to save money. I need to pay off debts, but with all these annual, semi-annual, blockbuster sales, they are not helping the cause. I know it’s great to reward and indulge every once in a while but it’s a revolving door of unwanted purchases. All of which I don’t need. I have a hard time coming to the conclusion of not needing the items. Somewhere deep inside comes the need to have them. I need them. I need them because I can’t live without them. When you throw a temporary price cut on top of that, that’s when the problems happen.

Truth is I am doing very well with handling my finances. It’s these tiny temptations that come in all shapes and sizes. While I have stopped emotional spending, I just can’t get over the “sale” hurdle. I know very well I don’t need these items. I know that. I have even gone as far as getting rid of a majority of things in my closet. I just can’t bring myself to let go of a “good” deal. These deals that seem too good to be true. I find myself trapped between sale prices and free shipping. That I am actually saving money because I didn’t leave my house to purchase these items. It’s an ongoing dilemma that while I have rid myself of all the things I don’t need, I need to purchase things to make up for it. Sure they don’t cost as much as all the original items I had, but here’s 4 more at the fraction of the cost. It’s got to stop.

I told myself I would be strong. That I would stop purchasing things I didn’t need and focus on the mountains of things I do have. The whole point of being financial stable is to come to a point in your life that you don’t need those items. Sure an item here or there is fine, but every other week? It’s time to finally put the wallet away. Time to get rid of the things I don’t need anymore. More importantly, stop throwing away my money on things I believe are a “good” deal.

Simplify.

If only that was easy.

Ellie – 1
Sales – 25

SOBS.

The struggle is real.

Let me be honest.

Okay, seriously. All I am doing is being honest.

Saving money, paying off debts, you know BEING RESPONSIBLE is not the business. Sure being responsible is all about your ability to function as an adult. Sometimes being a responsible adult is not all it’s cracked up to be. All you want to really do is be reckless and spend money. Those new kicks, you want them. Rolex watch, you want one. Alexander McQueen scarf, you want 2 of them. Trip to the south of France, you want to go to there. The truth is everything that requires having fun costs money. As much as every single media outlet can say you don’t need money to have a good time, most of the time they are lying. Who wants to go outside and chill at the park? Be outside, be one with nature? Please…. I have allergies and find great joy in the confides of my indoor spaces.

Why is it whenever there’s things that I enjoy or want to do, everything costs money? Baseball games, movies, shopping, food… everything costs money! Everything is taunting me and everything is asking for me to have a good time. For every dollar I save, there’s a sale at my favorite store. For every day that I don’t get coffee, I am 1 star away from a free drink. How is any of this fair? It’s not fair! It’s fair to the people who have the money saved and can afford to splurge. However to the millions of us in debt, it’s nothing more than a huge temptation that we can’t help but dive into. For the past couple of months I have cut my spending in half. I stopped buying clothes, accessories, and focused on everything I really needed. I literally went through my closet and pulled out everything with price tags and anything I haven’t worn in over a year. Just my way of truly cleansing my life. HOWEVER just because I cut expenses doesn’t mean I stop spending. The misconception of  budgeting is sometimes you spend money before you can truly save money. While I have cut a majority of my spending, I still find myself reliving my old vices which causes me to spend money.

This problem goes back to emotional spending. The spending of money because I’m having a moment. It doesn’t really matter the moment, good or bad the spending happens. Instead of going to the store and buying myself something nice, I’ll buy myself a nice lunch. Sometimes even splurge and get my nails done. Something. Anything that will curb that need to over spend. How ever what I am not thinking about is that everything adds up. The whole point of budgeting is to cut costs on unnecessary items. In the course of the past couple of months I have managed to save over $800 dollars by cutting costs on everything. However in those same past couple of months I have also managed to blow through the $800 dollars I have saved. Whether it be psychological or emotional or just someone voodooing me, I just cannot save money. For every $100 dollars I manage to save, I find 100 different ways to spend it. For every $250 dollars I put toward my debt, I find a way to spend the money. I am not sure whether its the notion that I think I am not spending any money but reality is I am still being careless with my spending.

My problem is I have a problem saying NO. Its easy to say No to things I don’t care for, things I don’t want to do. Yet how do I say No to the things I want to do. If a friend invites me out and it’s something I want to do, how do I say NO to that? How do I say No to Life? <-Okay that’s my problem. That right there. I don’t have the money to live the life. Which in turn makes the struggle real. Of course I want to do the things I love. However I don’t have the money to spend to live the life I am accustomed too. Honestly I never could afford to live the life I am accustomed to which is the reason I am in debt. NO BRAINER. I get it.

The Breakdown of my spending goes as follows:

I make roughly $16/hr. Which makes my paycheck around $530 (after taxes).

A breakdown of my current weekly expenses:

Gas: $50-$60
Mom (paying off debts guys!!): $100
WellsFargo: $150
Savings: $100
TOTAL:  $400 a week

A breakdown of unnecessary expenses:

Lunch: $10 a day (5 times a week)
Coffee: $5 a day (6 days a week)
Random Dinners: $25 (at least once a week)
TOTAL: $105 (a week)

Breakdown Totals:

$400 expenses
$104 unnecessary expenses
TOTAL:  $503 (a week)

Grand Totals:

$530 Check
-$503 Expenses
TOTAL Left over:  $27       <-This is why I can’t have nice things

Somewhere in my warped mind, I believe that food is not an expense. Food to me is a necessity, we need it to survive. Yes, I need that $5 dollar coffee to live my life. I also need the $2 dollar croissant, that’s made with real butter as well.   Seeing that my food is there a minute and gone the next (since I have no self control and tend to scarf my meals down), I don’t consider it an expense. While the only thing to even showcase the evidence of my food spending is the countless napkins lining the passenger side of my car (I should really work on that).  Not to mention my bank account drained because of my lack of self control. The main problem of my spending and not being able to save money is for every $100 I put toward a debt, I spend it. The $5 dollar coffee that I consider a necessity, adds up.  For every $100 dollars I save, I use my card for my expenses. Every time I use my card, I’m spending more than my fair share of money on that card. Since I spend the money on that card, I put what I have in savings toward that card. Which in turn drains my savings and therefore, I’m right back where I have started from.

No money, still problems.

Truth of the matter is all of that is an unnecessary expense. Do I really need to be eating out everyday? Do I really need a coffee every day and it’s delicious buttery croissant? Of course not. I don’t need it. I want it, but I don’t need it. If I could be really honest, I am just lazy. Lazy to make a lunch every day, lazy to make a coffee every day, lazy to function. My laziness is making me broke. My laziness is why I am in this mess in the first place. While I do applaud myself for finding alternative methods to deal with emotion, I’m still finding ways to spend money. The point of not spending money is to do just that. DON’T SPEND MONEY. I understand that’s the whole point of being an adult is being responsible for your well being. Seeing your mistakes and growing from them. Just on some occasions being an adult doesn’t really cut it, you grow restless and become reckless. I get it. I’ve done it. Now I’m just at the point where, “Man I’d just like to see my money”. Its like everyone says, we all gotta start somewhere. Shoot even Brian McKnight started “Back at one” right? So these are my pitfalls, reasons, and honest accounts of why I do not have money. This is also the reason why I can’t hang. Budgeting money is not easy. Being responsible is also not easy nor is it any fun. However to come up on top, you gotta struggle, you gotta fall, and then eventually everything will work out in the end. Everything in it’s right place.

But for real though this struggle is as real as you and me.

*SOBS*

 

Honesty.

honesty

For most of my adult life I had never been truly honest about the past. It’s the past that always comes back to haunt you and manifests itself into demons you can’t hide. When I came back from Mexico I couldn’t hold it in anymore. My failures of the past were manifesting themselves into failures of my present. From the countless failed friendships, relationships, and even failed attempts of careers, I realized the one thing that was holding my life back was the need to be honest. I have absolutely no problem telling anyone how it is or how I feel, but when it comes to the things of my past, I couldn’t do it. In this experiment I wanted to show myself that the debt in my life is an effort to keep the demons at bay. Suppressing them just enough to keep satisfied until I had another meltdown. Another failure and I would continue my downward spiral of over spending, over indulging and of course beating myself up about it.

The purpose of this blog is to talk about my struggles, my passions, and my failures, which has caused me to seek comfort in spending. In no way am I trying to publicly bash the things that have happened in my life. Life is about being honest with yourself and learning countless lessons, Life isn’t made to be easy. I’ve fallen on hard times, I’ve hit rock bottom and as I’ve always said I have gotten myself back up again. I know what it’s like to lose everything, and I know what it’s like to have everything. These are my struggles, these are my stories, as exaggerated as they may read they truly did happen. I’ve sugar coated so much of my life that people have a hard time believing these things have actually happened.  You just get to the point in your life where you’re so emotionally exhausted. That’s what I am. I’m emotionally and physically exhausted with hiding how I feel about the past that the only way I can truly heal is talking about it. To the people that I have written about I am in no way, shape or form, publically bashing you. If anything I am just truly showing you what it felt like to walk in my shoes. A small glimpse of the lifetime of mistreatment, I felt being associated with the same caliber people.

People will never truly understand you, until they have walked a mile in your shoes. In some way I am showing you word for word how I’ve felt all those years. The years I continued to accept apologies and continued to be mistreated, bad mouthed, and hurt by the same people. For once people will understand why I am the way that I am. Where I no longer have the heart for juvenile bullshit.  I’ve reached that point in my life where I no longer expect apologizes. Honestly I don’t even have the energy anymore to fight. I hope that in reading my stories, people would find the compassion to not make the same mistakes from the past. Grow from the bullshit and learn from it. That’s exactly what I intend to do. This is my attempts of growing with love and finding the happiness I know that I truly deserve. I can’t keep holding on, protecting and rewarding the bad behavior of others. I can’t keep hiding in the shadows waiting for it to be okay to talk about my feelings. This is how I feel, this is how it went, and honestly people should be afraid of what I’m going to do next.

With that stated I will hope that if anything people will truly understand where I am coming from. That my exposed vulnerabilities will finally bring out all the dark and truly bring forth the light.

 

Siblings.

There’s this unspoken bond of loyalty between siblings. It’s a blood pact. No matter what happens in life you are to remain loyal to this member of your immediate family. Always have each others back and so forth. So excuse me if I seem a little bitter but sometimes blood doesn’t always make you family. What makes you family is the unseen power of loyalty and no amount of money in the world could change those sentiments. The moment you turn your back on family, is the moment you stand before the world alone. Friendships end but family is suppose to be forever. As an older sibling I was always taught to honor our family values and to always take care of my sibling. What do you do when your own sibling doesn’t want to be a part of the family. When your sibling would rather choose to live a separate life away from family values. How is it that two people raised by the same parents, with the same values be so completely different? One understanding the value of loyalty and family and while the other choose to live a life by the standards of their handouts before them. I guess I’ll never understand the genetic makeup of some people and while I try to piece together who they once were, I’m left with finally understanding who they truly are. A complete stranger with only the same characteristic as myself and nothing else.

I have stated this a million times. I am not a perfect person. I am fucked up and flawed just like the next person. The qualities I lack I understand people feel the same way about themselves. This isn’t my intention to bash a persons personal beliefs just sometimes I do feel like I get the shit end of the stick. Since I am the older sibling, I catered to the dramatics of my younger sibling. While my parents were more strict on me for being the oldest, being a female they were far less strict on my sibling. He could come in and disrespect my parents and make a list of demands. Each time, each parent catered and played into his manipulative web. I was the buffer, I was the keeper of the peace. For a long time I believed I had to protect my sibling because that’s what families do. They had each others back. For every time my sibling believed someone other than me, would break plans to hang out with his friends, or just be absolutely rotten, I allowed it. Because at the end of the day that’s family. When everyone in life turns their back on you,  you will always have family.

That’s what I believed. I mean that’s what I was taught. Family didn’t have an end. When the worst of the worst happens, you have family.

In the course of the 20 plus years I lived with my sibling this person went through a course of changes. Started acting differently, started speaking differently and at one point became a dangerous person. When you harbor a lot of darkness you tend to focus primarily on keeping it hidden as much as possible. My sibling had that problem. For most of their young adult life I never saw this person. My sibling would come home to sleep and the rest of the day just be gone. Just as my life became destructive, my sibling’s life followed through. We became completely different people, that people would even doubt we were siblings at all. The day my sibling went through a terrible breakup was the moment I knew my sibling needed me. I offered a new beginning in the wake of my own new beginning. An olive branch hoping that’s what my sibling needed. Once again the same destruction followed through. I wasn’t in the mind space to babysit and once again I never saw my sibling unless it was night fall. While that story goes into a post in itself, I will state that for a year I didn’t speak with my sibling. For all I knew my sibling was dead to me and I was an only child. It wasn’t until we were splitting up our holidays to avoid each other that I knew I couldn’t continue on like that. It was absolutely breaking my mother’s heart and I knew I had to swallow my pride. It was then that I decided we couldn’t continue on like this anymore. While I still harbored a lot of resentment from the past, I kept it inside. I was bigger than that. I was bigger than letting stupid idiotic bullshit from the past get to me. While my sibling still lived in the city I was planning to call my home, still working in the industry I wanted to work in, and still living what I believed my life was suppose to be. I will be honest. I was and still to this day am bitter. Everything in my life I’ve had to work hard for. Nothing in my life has been handed to me and every time I’ve fallen down, I’ve been the one to lift myself up again. I never once received an apology for the all the years my sibling was such a horrible person. Because that’s family, and at the end of the day we’re family.

Just as I had with my friends prior I too tried to buy my sibling off. I couldn’t tell you the countless material things I’ve bought, the dinners, the money I’ve lent, the money I’ve had stolen from me, and the countless times I’ve had to get my sibling out of a jam. Even with all of those things I did it with honor because we were family. Just as the countless disappointing factors in my life, my sibling was the biggest. While I envied siblings that actually got a long, I couldn’t be in the same room with my sibling. It was this false hope of being family and the reality was I absolutely hated my sibling. Everyone always allowed my sibling to get a way with everything, always rewarded his bad behavior and I was left picking up the pieces. I was looked down upon for disrespecting my sibling but my sibling could punch a few walls and call everyone every name in the book. How fair is that exactly? How exactly is that a sense of loyalty. In the course of everything that happened in my life my grandfather passed and with that my mother had a heart attack. With everything that happened my brother showed no remorse. Sure he shed an artistic tear, probably talked about “feelings” as they do in Hollywood. Who was the one that picked up the pieces? Who was the one taking care, going to various doctor appointments and not being able to sleep at night in the worried notion that at any moment another family member would be gone? I understand that’s my doubled ended sword of being the oldest but not once did my brother offer to help. Not once did he think to come and lend a hand. I don’t doubt my sibling’s feelings but his constant money worries were far more important then any of our families feelings and well being. That was the beginning of the end for me. I was absolutely worn out. I could talk to people but when you can’t talk to family then who can you talk to. Again that’s family. You’re suppose to always be there for family, right?

What broke the bond between siblings was the day my sibling choose his new life over family. The day my sibling was too good for our family, our customs and even our culture. When my sibling started to cringe whenever we spoke Spanish and even forgetting our own customs. My sibling would compare our customs with that of his friends and how his friends customs were better. Less religious, more English, more white. When your sibling makes a mockery of the very things you were brought up to be proud of you lose a sense of respect for this person. It was as if I didn’t even know who this person was. He harbored all the characteristics of someone I knew but he was so completely vacant. He was a hollow shell of the person he used to be. He became more entitled, he believed he was better than this family. The day I was absolutely done was the day we were suppose to go to a baseball game together. We had planned this game for months, a game of his choosing where I once again paid for everything. The night before the game he wanted to change everything from the time we went, to the events we would go to, even changing going to the game itself. It became this ultimatum, his way or the highway of his obscene dramatics. No matter which way I tried to make a peace with the game, he just stated more demands. It wasn’t until he said he only wanted to go to half of the game and got my parents involved that I was being difficult that I had it. When both of your parents are screaming at you that his dramatics are your fault that’s when you reach your breaking point. I grabbed the two tickets I paid for and handed them to my sibling. “Take who ever you want to go with and never talk to me again”. With that stated and no matter how many times I play it in my head, I am still the bad guy.

In the course of this understanding my debt experiment I realize that everything I do is carried by emotion. Love, sadness, and even the true understanding of loyalty. I couldn’t even tell you what I remembered that made my sibling so great because the person before my family is nothing like the person he was before. They’re a vacant memory in a pile of ghost stories. The problem with family is that at the end of the day they are suppose to be the people who will always have your back. The first time I stopped talking to my sibling I said I was done, but my emotion made me cross that burning bridge hoping there was a tiny glimpse of the past. Crossing that burning bridge was my undoing, I did the apologizing. I made the attempts of contact and tried to mend. Instead I grew more infuriated with this person. The life they lived, the positions they had, more importantly I wasn’t mending anything. My sibling and I are nothing a like. We both have different views about what loyalty is and I respect that. In August it will be yet another year that I haven’t spoken to my sibling. That I know nothing of their life or care to even know about. While some days I am sadden by this I know I did what was best. People will never change unless they want to. While I believed maturity and time would change people, I was wrong. Instead its the same person just 50 pounds lighter with a hand looking for a hand out. Nothing ever changes. It sucks feeling that people have a way of always letting you down and even the people that are always suppose to have your back don’t.

You reach that point in your life where you have to let everything go and hope for the best. Hope that at the end of the day people will eventually change for the better and with that you’ll find a change in yourself. While I no longer believe that my sibling is living the life I was suppose to lead, I still harbor a lot of hurt and the pain from the past. Its going to take more than a year to get over and until I can truly get over it will I be able to fully heal. I am done crossing burnt bridges, chasing empty pavements, when people find themselves only then can they give me a call. Only then will I truly and honestly listen.

 

What-The-Hell.com

When I graduated high school my life changed. I think when you graduate high school you start the course of your growing up phases. At 17, I wasn’t ready to grow up just yet. I wasn’t ready for the reality that was the real world and any chance to escape to Neverland I would take. I was burnt out on the need to constantly be responsible. After going to school for what seemed like an eternity, I started to sabotage the very notion of stability. While my peers were starting their stages of growing up with going to school, starting new relationships, etc, I was plotting my way out. I wasn’t ready to give in to settling down, I wasn’t ready to take the easy way out.

The summer of 2000, I spent exploring life. I wanted to live, I wanted to experience, I wanted to spend a shit load of money. Of course after graduating from high school, my money making options expanded to Nannying part-time and taking a hostess job with a housing community my mom worked for. Needless to say I started making a good chunk of money. The summer I spent exploring, going to shows (concerts) and hanging out with two of my friends (a friend from high school and her friend), made for some memorable experiences. Honestly the summer was a great time for endless possibilities. Before summer’s end I had saved up a good amount of money and started dating a guy I sort of had feelings for. I should have been happy with how my summer was progressing but as soon as summer ended I wanted out. I started feeling suffocated in my life; I felt I was settling for everyone else’s dreams and needed a way out. It wasn’t that I was unhappy with my life, I was just unhappy with the way things were going. I was following the footsteps of so many of my peers that I knew I deserved better. I didn’t want to end up on the misguided end of being unhappy 20 years from now. I wanted adventure, mystery, I wanted a start to a thousand stories.

After this photo was taken my life changed. 18 without a purpose or direction.

After this photo was taken my life changed. 18 without a purpose or direction.

Right around the start of the fall of 2000, I started going to shows with my two friends (I will dub them for the sake of this story “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”). After being so sheltered most of my high school years, it felt great to sort of experience my teenage years. I started listening to a wide range of music, going to shows, and soon stopped feeling the need to conform to anyone else’s expectations. Soon after I was going to my first series of shows, I broke up with my boyfriend. I knew dating him would mean I would have to make a choice down the line of relationship or traveling the world. Needless to say I was already feeling suffocated with my life so I choose to travel the world. Honestly I was in the relationship because that’s what my peers had done. Since I didn’t want to be anything like my peers I started my stages of what I believed a new life entailed. While going to shows with my friends was fun, the reality of life was happening. From my part-time Nannying jobs, my hostess gig, I started working part-time in my Mom’s office. I was working 3 jobs, going to school fulltime and honestly was already burned out before I even had a chance to truly experience my life. At 18, I was ready to retire. I was working 3 jobs and going to school full time. The only time I had for myself was one night a week. This wasn’t how I expected my life to turn. Any way I could I started sabotaging school, sabotaging any chance of settling down. My parents blamed my friends for being bad influences but the reality was I was doing this myself. Right around the time that I got on academic probation, I knew that was the end of my academic career and the start of my life.  While still working the 3 jobs, I had the luxury of making money to pay for my travels, expenses, countless shows etc. I wasn’t thinking about a future, I was thinking about the “right now”. Since I was feeling the stress of a million people, I realized I had developed a dependency of food. While I had been heavy a majority of my adolescence, after high school I had ballooned up to 250 pounds. Emotional eating was my way of coping with how I was feeling. Coping with how many times I got a lecture about my life, coping with how many times I felt alone, and coping with how many times I felt rejected by people. While I was enjoying the living for the moment, I realized I was embarking on a series of emotional problems. From over eating to over spending, I found myself of opening demons into my self destructive phase.
photo 4 (5)

Emotional eating and emotional spending are two of a kind. While I was suppressing my demons by eating, I was rewarding my sadness with never ending spending. Spending $100 dollars at the Benefit Cosmetics counter, or spending $900 dollars in less than an hour at the mall, my possibilities were endless. I didn’t put into account the countless times I bought my friends gifts just because. Both were driven by emotion, this need to feel this void of unhappiness I was feeling. When you reach a point in your life where you’re truly unhappy, you start to believe there is no one you can talk to. I had alienated myself from so many of my friends and family members, I honestly believed I had nobody. I started keeping everything I was feeling inside which lead me to find destructive ways to deal with my emotions.  When the food digested, and the spending lost it’s novelty, I found myself just finding way to hurt myself. I started a cycle of self mutilation to keep from screaming. Cutting was my way of dealing everything. The spending, the hurt, the internal screaming, and my constant need for acceptance. I told no one about it. After being told by Thing 2 “Everyone has problems, one day I won’t be there to listen to your problems“, I stopped talking about my problems. My problems stayed internal for years, the more you bottle up how you feel the more you realize one day you’re going to pop. I was a ticking time bomb, I knew that. The only thing that was keeping me a float was eating my feelings, spending money, cutting and listening to great music.

Just a small handful the shows I went to. Memories of the past.

Just a small handful the shows I went to. Memories of the past.

To be brutally honest while I was parading around about how awesome my life was, I was miserable. I was going absolutely no where and while my demons haunted me I found myself eating more and spending far beyond my means.

The breakdown of an average show from 2000-2003:

Tickets: $25
Gas: $25
Bridge Toll: $3
Parking: $10
Merch: $40
Drinks/Food: $40
Total: $143 a week.
Monthly: $429

Where my money went in 2000-2003:

Tickets: $3,600
Food: $4,320
Merch: $1,440
Total for 1 year: $9,360

Money I made working 3 jobs a year:

Nannying: $7,200
Hostess: $4,800
Clerical: $4,800
Total for the year: $16,800

We started going to just 1 show a month, which escalated to 3 shows a week. Daily Average was $143, when Thing 1 and myself didn’t have licenses we would rely on someone to take us and pay their ticket/gas/food/parking etc. Those expenses doubled and seeing that these were mostly my friends that would take us to a show, I would spend $286 a show night. Honestly now that I look at, I spent far more then my share. I never looked into it because as I had stated multiple times I was having the best time with my best friends. Even when at my lowest moments of my life you start to realize who your real friends are. Thing 1 and Thing 2 while they were my friends would always do some severely shady things. I refused to see what was in front of me and believed them when they told lies. First it would be going to shows without me, lie about where they were, lied to mutual friends, or better yet my favorite, use things I told them in confidence to make me the villain. They would put the blame on each other then would make it out like I was the crazy one. Since I was more emotional, the one that came from the strict upbringing, etc. It wasn’t until I found out they had gone out with a guy I had a crush on without telling me, that I realized “you know maybe these people really aren’t my friends”.  No matter how many times I tried to confront them, I would be met with more lies and more paranoia that it was all in my head. For every fight I had with my friends, we would make up and become the 3 musketeers all over again. It would last for a few weeks, then Thing 1 and Thing 2 would be back to being “twins” as they effortlessly called themselves.  They were my best friends right? Who else could you talk to except your best friends?  I couldn’t talk to my parents since they already felt they were a bad influence, so  I escaped to more over eating, more spending, and more self mutilating. As much as I wanted to blame them for my problems, I couldn’t. I was the one making myself miserable. I was the one that wanted to believe lie after lie of being okay. I was the one hiding how I felt from the world. As much as I wanted to tell everyone to FUCK OFF and start all over again, I couldn’t. Instead I escaped to a world of sadness, loneliness and denial.

For every time I felt sad, I cut myself. For every time I wanted to hide the demons I felt, I ate. For every time I wanted acceptance from my friends, I would buy things in the hopes that buying things would make a dent in their armor. I wanted this acceptance from Thing 1 and Thing 2 because they were all I had left. My parents didn’t know what to do with me, I wasn’t going to school, I wasn’t doing well at work, I just stopped caring. The constant fighting at home didn’t compare to the way I felt around my friends. When I started getting panic attacks hanging out with my friends I realized I was coming across a huge problem. Before the music was my escape, staying 3 hours in a show took all the pain away. Travelling 300 miles from home, mostly on my own dime took all the pain of sadness away. Then you start noticing that your so called best friends are leaving you out of things. Not including you on anything. You start hating yourself thinking it’s something you did wrong. Maybe if I wasn’t so fat. Maybe if I wasn’t so self conscious. Maybe if I wasn’t who I was, people would actually like me. When you’re at your lowest points you realize you surround yourself with not very great people. On top of feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, I found myself being used by the very people I considered my best friends. Sure I had a great time with Thing 1 and Thing 2 but the reality of our friendship wasn’t friendship. We used each other because while everyone else was living in the real world, we weren’t. We lived in a fantasyland of 3 hours of real friendship in a show and constantly judging and belittling each other out of a show. While Thing 1 and Thing 2 stated how we were the 3 musketeers, their selfish shallow needs would go far beyond our friendship. It took years to understand that. Realizing that for every time I felt that we were all friends, it was really just Thing 1 and Thing 2 being the best of friends and me paying off the expenses. It wasn’t that they didn’t have any money, they worked and as Thing 2 told me countless times “Thing 1 had an adult job, not a job someone got for her”. Yet I was the one paying more for our friendship. I was financing a friendship with people who never were my friends to begin with.

For working 3 jobs, I was making a decent amount of money. How ever much I was making, I wasn’t saving any of it. While some of my peers were saving to move out of their surroundings, I was stuck. I was all talk and no follow through. For every check I spent, someone else benefited from my hard work. Whether it be a dinner here, a new eyeshadow there, I wasn’t seeing any of my money anymore. It wasn’t until I completely financed two tours and overdrafted my account over $300 dollars each time that I realized that I was over spending my hard earned money. The countless lectures about my spending, the countless lectures asking how much of my friends accounts were overdrafted, I didn’t listen. Instead I saw it as a personal attack toward me. I failed in my social experiment with living in the now. On top of feeling like a failure, I was overweight and broken. I couldn’t tell you the countless nights I spent crying just feeling that everything I was doing was wrong. My friends abandoned me, my parents didn’t understand, my skin hurt and I was broken. It took a long time for the cuts to heal to finally get to the point of feeling okay. Just sometimes the past comes back to haunt you in the most unusual way. You end up meeting people that hurt you the same way and you start the cycle of self destruct all over again. It’s up to you to realize when enough is enough, and when you reach that point in your life is when you truly feel free.

Now that time has passed, I finally have time to actually heal and process that time period. I am not the person I was 13 years ago. I’m not even the same person I was a year ago. You live, you learn and you eventually move on. It’s funny to think of it that way. I did have a great time traveling the world seeing some of my favorite bands. While I wouldn’t have given up any of those moments for the world, I would have been more vocal about how I felt. I would have saved more then what I had spent. I wouldn’t have allowed people to make me feel worse than how I already felt. I wouldn’t have felt the need to buy friendships. Thing 1 and Thing 2 weren’t the enemy, I know that now. The only enemy I had was living inside of me and making me into a monster. No one deserves to feel the way that I felt in that time period. While I now know how to deal with my emotional feelings, I just wished I had gotten to this point sooner than now. While I have gotten a lot of my emotional self destructiveness behind me, I know now I am better than my past. I’m no longer friends with Thing 1 and Thing 2. While they were never good friends, I just hope that at the end of the day they can at least be good friends to someone even if it is to each other.

At the end of the day, I guess this is growing up.

Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Back in 2009, I watched a film called “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (film was based on the Shopaholic novels by Sophie Kinsella).
confessions_of_a_shopaholic_12

If you’ve never seen it, breakdown:

It’s about a girl named Rebecca Bloomwood, who’s a writer and because of her shopaholic ways ends up thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt. Not to mention she starts writing articles for a financial magazine about being responsible about your finances and wellllll ohhh the irony seeing that she is flooded with never ending debt.

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

Basically my life story without the designer wardrobe, less accumulated debt, or the handsome Hugh Dancy.

While I did absolutely enjoy the film, I at the time of the films release could not possibly relate. Actually, I just absolutely refused to relate. My spending wasn’t that out of hand. I had an absolute handle on my finances. Sure I didn’t have money. Sure I spent every paycheck on unnecessary things, but I wasn’t spending $325 a check on various handbags or shoes. I was in control of my money, in control of my life. The only thing I absolutely learned from that movie, wasn’t to save money. No. Not at all. What I learned was that I needed to step my wardrobe game up.

At the time of the film’s release I was 27, recently getting over a broken heart and you guessed it broke. I had a very good job, making really great money (great money that I knew how to spend). I worked literally 5 minutes away from my home and I should have been content. I should have been fine with the cards I had before me. Sadly once you start the process into your late 20s you become disillusioned with your current state and start thinking of the past. At least thats what I did. Processing a broken heart is a long process to begin with, processing a broken spirit can take a lifetime. I was in the middle of both problems. I was unhappy with my life, unhappy with the state of my solitude and started a downward spiral of spending.

Here was my situation:

While making money is great (Honestly who doesn’t like making money), my job wasn’t my ideal job. For the past 12 years, I had worked more than 10 different jobs and never felt any of those jobs fit who I was. I had been working non-stop since I was 14, I needed a change. What a normal motivated individual my age would have done was figured out a way out of that slump.  Either finding work in a different industry or just figuring some aspect of a plan. Had I been in a right state of mind I would have done that. Since I was still completely heartbroken, I found myself drowning myself in work and trying as much as I could to occupy my time. Work helped with the forgetting but it also made my life miserable. Honestly I didn’t know what I wanted as a career. I was finding some amusement keeping with a blog but nothing too spectacular. I loved photography but honestly I had grown tired of taking everyone’s picture. I was burnt out. I had been a nanny, telemarketer, admin assistant, executive assistant, personal assistant, receptionist, claims specialist, hostess, sales assistant, general store clerk, and all before the age of 27. I needed a new beginning. I needed a different change of pace. I also needed a new wardrobe in order to go into my new life.

Somewhere I had heard that to start fresh you need to get rid of the old and start purchasing the new. Purge yourself of your old life and make way for a crisp clean new beginning. Here I wanted a new life, something to get me out of this slump I was in. I wanted something that would make my outsides look fabulous that would in turn make my insides feel good. Equipped with various subscriptions to different varieties of magazines (Elle, Vogue, W) for inspiration and a new spending account, I was well on my way to a new start. Therefore I started with the first place I would get the most notice, my wardrobe.

My average paycheck from my employer at the time was around $1225 bi-weekly. I was making roughly around $612.50 a week. Coming from working at jobs where I was averaging $300 a week from temping, seeing $1225 on my check was good money. While I had always had a passion for fashion, I could never really afford the beautiful luxuries I loved in the magazines. Sure I’d splurge on a great pair of designer sunglasses (Dior “Glossy” $325, Marc Jacobs “Terry” $325, Dior “AviaDior” $425, etc), but owning a pair of Louboutins was just ridiculous. With the help of the wonderful world of Ebay, Ebay helped me obtain all my designers needs for a fraction of the cost. Then you have to put into account that a lot of H&M’s were opening up in shopping malls near me, the complete access of online shopping, on top of the Ebaying, that’s how it all began. Since I was convinced that owning new things would be the first start to changing my well being, I had a spending no-holds-bar-free-for-all. Lets break this down to the theory of emotions. A majority of everything I buy is based on emotions, during this excess spending there was no exception.

With a large collection of monthly magazine subscriptions, I started reading various articles of ways to get over a broken heart. One of them happened to be: “To get over a past relationship, rid yourself of anything that reminds you of your past relationship“. The article went into detail about things you should keep, things you shouldn’t keep and a variety of those items of course had to do with wardrobe. Since I was extremely broken hearted, I got rid of anything that reminded me of the past. Instead of getting rid of it, in the way of donations I found ways to make a profit of my heartbreaking items. I started selling everything. Craigslist became a huge factor and when items wouldn’t sell on craigslist I would sell on ebay. I didn’t care if I made my money back, I just wanted to get rid of things that reminded me of the past. Anything that was a memory of a sad time in my life, I wanted completely out of my house. I didn’t need this bad juju going into my new start, my fresh beginning. With the profits of my sellings, I started buying new things. Things that were going to improve my well being, my new fresh start.

The Spending Breakdown:

My monthly income: $2450

My monthly expenses (phone, insurance, credit card bills, gas): $382
Miscellaneous expenses (going out, restaurants, coffee): $344
Just my expenses alone: $726 a month

My “New beginning” spending income: $1724

Sales from Ebay/Craigslist monthly: $300 +
H&M: $300
Target: $500
Nordstrom: $150
Neiman Marcus: $375
Sephora: $75
Ebay: $400
Urban Outfitters: $100
Total Left over from Spending: $124

My monthly expenses allowed me to have a spending cushion of about $1724, to which I used to my advantage. Problem with that spending cushion was that I wasn’t budgeting any of that. I wasn’t putting more money to my minimum payment on either of my credit cards. I wasn’t even properly saving money. How I saw my check bi-weekly was $1225, the lump sum of the week where I had endless possibilities. Instead of budgeting my expenses or cutting costs in items I didn’t need, I spent more. On top of the need to change for my new beginning, more excess spending started happening. Upon reading all these “life changing” articles in various magazines, I found myself spending even more. A few items from Urban Outfitters, A few designer dresses from Ebay, unlimited amounts of new products from Sephora. My room started to look like a UPS shipping center. Items were coming in and leaving just the same. For every one thing I sold, I bought two items in it’s place. If I sold a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress (purchased for $325, sold for $100), I bought 2 more dresses (Ebay find: Marc by Marc Jacobs Dress $100, BCBG Dress $295). While I saw income coming in, none of it was making any profit. Since I was spending the money before I had any chance of making a profit, I was left more broke then when I started. Somehow I didn’t care. I was so completely numb from heart break that I didn’t realize that my $1225 dollar paycheck was leaving me only $100 until my next paycheck. Instead of saving that $100 dollars, I did what any irresponsible person would do. I spent it. I went from having a $1225 dollar paycheck to having only $100 dollars for two weeks. All in the name of a broken spirit and new beginnings. No matter how many times my parents told me to save my money. The countless times I had to ask for a handout to get me out of my overdraft hell, I couldn’t stop spending. The spending like much of my life was completely out of control. Yet somehow I wasn’t Rebecca Bloomwood status. I was still keeping up with all my payments and even if that meant my account would overdraft, all of my personal expenses were always paid on time. I didn’t have any bill collectors calling about my debts. While I did have debts, I paid just enough to cover my expenses. Yet never enough to fully be out of the hole.

Left to Right: BCBG Sequined Dress $295, H&M Dress $29.95,Topshop dress $59.90, Robert Rodriguez Dress $99, H&M Dress $34.95.  TOTAL: $518.80

Left to Right: BCBG Sequined Dress $295, H&M Dress $29.95,Topshop dress $59.90, Robert Rodriguez Dress $99, H&M Dress $34.95.
TOTAL: $518.80

Budgeting was a word that did not exist in my vocabulary. I was looking great. I had great clothes, great accessories, therefore people started to take notice. My once conservative way of dressing, turned into a more colorful approach to fashion. My wardrobe went from only a few key pieces to an assortment of stylish must haves. The more people complimented my ensemble, the more I felt the need to buy. It got to the point where I stopped finding the need to get rid of items and started to keep them. I state that I’m an emotional shopper because while I was purchasing things for my new start/new beginnings I was still miserable. I wanted to fill the void of my unhappiness that I found myself spending more money to obtain this happiness. The only time I had ever felt a pure sense of happiness was buying something. Because buying beautiful things meant something big was around the corner. With every new purchase I found myself wearing only a fraction of what I bought. For every 7 things I bought, 2 would be worn religiously. 3 would be kept for “special occasion” purposes, still with tags. The remaining 2 items would never be worn and just be hidden in the closet until I do my yearly donations, and still with the price tags. The $300 dollars or so I would spend at the store and wear only about $60 dollars worth of the purchase. I would be left $240 shoppers defeat and $240 dollars out of my account and deeper in the hole. It was this need for the luxurious things that will make my life better. So I thought. When you start maxing out your credit cards all for the “love” of fashion your realize that something eventually has to give. In the course of that time I had managed to spend a little over $3,000 in the course of 4 months. 4 months! If I wasn’t going out every weekend or buying everything I could get my hands on, I was paying off debts and finding ways to make more money.

What I should have done was asked for help. I should have talked to someone the moment any or all of this emotional bullshit was happening. I didn’t, I thought this was a problem I needed to solve myself. The only way I could resolve any issue I had, was with spending thousands of dollars on bullshit purchases.  It was more than just the spending, it was this emotional void that I thought I was filling with buying beautiful things. Looking at that part of my life as the person I am now, I just wondered why no one shook me and said what I was doing was wrong. Nothing I was feeling internally could be solved throwing money at a problem. No matter how much a bag, scarf, jacket, or sunglasses cost, while beautiful it may be was never going to ever make my insides feel better. While my spending has since downscaled since the Shopaholic Storm of 07. I can’t help but look at a lot of the items from that time period and think “Man I spent 400 bucks on this?”.

While I may not have had the supreme spending power as Rebecca Bloomwood, I did feel the void she did. Just that notion that all of our saddest darkest moments could be solved with a credit card and a shopping spree at Bendel’s. Thousands of dollars in debt later we both realized that, none of that was healthy. No amount of beautiful items will ever make us happy (as much as we didn’t want to believe it). The temporary happiness we get from buying things can never silence how we feel on the inside. While it took Rebecca Bloomwood about midway through the film to realize her mistakes (probably longer in the books), it has taken me a few years to realize my wrong doing. I get it. We live, we learn, and we save up money to pay off our debts. We all have to grown up sometime. While I may not have been vocal about my problems in the past, it’s good to get a handle of my emotional needs now a days. I know I am not perfect, I never pretended to be. Eventually we all find ways to bring our happiness back with out the need of material things. At the end of the film Rebecca eventually found a way to be happy and debt free. Soon, so will I.